Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WIP Wednesday #40

Howdy, Wednesday. Let's do this thing. 

This week was all about finishing one big-ish project and then lots of little things that popped up, like fixing the strap on B's diaper bag. Exciting, I know. The big project was a gift for a friend, but since I haven't given it to her yet, I can only give you a sneak peek for now. Lots more to come!
Love these colors.
I also did a little quickie project for our nanny. She had the clever idea to turn a few napkins into a cute window dressing for her kitchen window, so I sewed the rod sling for her. They turned out so cute!

In progress:
Another secret gift: I just pulled the fabrics last night, and it's on the top of my list for this week, so you'll see more of this one soon.
T-shirt quilt
I'm still pushing ahead on this one and managed to get several more shirts interfaced this week. It's a great project for when you have just a few minutes of sewing time but don't want to start something new — throw another shirt on the ironing board!
Quilt for the St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild's Ohio Star Challenge quilt challenge
This week, I finished some more crazy piecing, which I plan to incorporate into the back of the challenge quilt.
The front will be pulled from these fabrics, and I'm so ready to get started on this one. Crossing my fingers I will get to it this week.
Kitchen Window quilt
Now that B's quilt is done, I'm determined to get back to this one and finally finish it. Next step: sashing!

On the "to do" list: 
Re-covering the downstairs chair
New pillows for the downstairs chairs
Christmas table runner
iPod workout strap
A mug rug for me and one for a gift
Ironing board cover
Another divided basket from the Noodlehead pattern 
Reusable snack bags
Living room quilt
Small zipper bag for me
Baby gifts

This week, I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer fun series: Botanical gardens

I'm so behind on personal life posts this summer, and there's really only one good way to remedy that — summer fun photo bombs! I decided I'm going to break these up into a little series with each post focusing on one activity/location (meaning the photos won't all be from one day but all of our zoo photos, for instance, will go in one post).
Up first, two of our favorite places to wander around — the botanical gardens and butterfly house!
This year, we got a membership to the gardens, and it was a great purchase. We love to just walk around and see what's blooming. B loves the children's garden, the koi pond, and splashing in the fountains.
On Wednesday nights in the summer, the gardens are opened to the public for free concerts. Many people crowd around the stage, but since there are speakers set up all over, we like to grab a more open spot to lay out our blanket. We always meet up with friends and bring a picnic. It makes for a perfect summer evening.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Making things pretty

My fabric stash has been in desperate need of organizing for a while now. The other day, I was rifling through the many separate boxes and stacks when it suddenly occurred to me that I was doing it all backward. This is what my fabric bookcase looked like before:
Eek. Before, the bookcase was filled with all of my "upcycle" fabrics — old t-shirts and pants, sheets, and other randomness, plus various notions and rulers on the top two shelves. All of my pretty fabric was stored in the two plastic bins you see to the right, as well as a few more bins in the closest on the left. Why on earth was I hiding all the good stuff (and making it harder to get to)? Problem solved!
Yay! I can't get over the prettiness. A few nights ago, I put on an episode of Food Network Star and got to work. I sorted all of my designer fabric by color and folded it properly so it would fit on the bookcase. I then moved all of the upcycle fabrics into the plastic bins. My fat quarters and larger scraps went into a smaller plastic bin in the closest. I also sorted through the notions and organized them in a black bin we weren't using.
Pretty rainbow! It's so much easier to find fabrics now, and I can see exactly what I have. The bottom three shelves are sorted by color. The top shelf of fabric is for projects I'm currently working on, and the shelf below that holds the red fabrics (the top of the rainbow sorting) and the multicolor fabrics. I'm so happy with the switch.
And a little more fabric prettiness. I love this stack! After the Jacquie Gering workshop the other day, I stopped by a new-to-me fabric shop in town that I'd been meaning to check out for months. The ladies who run it were super nice, and we chatted while I picked out too many things, including this stack. :)
I love, love, love how the colors together and can't wait to decide what to do with them. I might need to go back and get some more...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Workshoppin' with Jacquie Gering

This past weekend, I went to my first quilting lecture and workshop. For months, the St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild has been building up to this weekend, when we finally welcomed the wonderful Jacquie Gering to the Lou.
On Friday, she gave a lecture entitled "Quilting Modern: Honoring Tradition." She talked all about her method, where she gets her inspiration, and how to take traditional ideas and put a modern spin on them.
And she showed off a ton of her fabulous quilts.
Really, I wanted to sneak out of there with all of them.
Afterward, she was kind enough to stick around to chat, sign copies of her book, and let us manhandle her beautiful quilts.
On Saturday, she hosted a workshop on modern crazy piecing. I was really excited about this one because I really don't do any improv work when I sew, and I knew it would be a good chance to learn a new technique and push me out of my comfort zone.
I definitely wasn't the only one, as lots of people in the group cringed as Jacquie starting slicing through fabric without measuring. But once I got my rotary cutter in my hand, it was actually a really freeing experience and so much fun. Slice, slice, rearrange!
I worked on a monochromatic piece using a range of teals (big surprise coming from me, I know). I gathered up this huge stack a few weeks ago so I'd have plenty of inspiration. I'm planning on using these fabrics for my STLMQG Ohio Star challenge quilt, but this weekend, they all went to the workshop with me. I think my plan will be to use some of my crazy piecing for the back of the Ohio Star quilt.
After the initial "lesson," Jacquie canvassed the room offering great advice and lots of help the entire time. And she was so very, very genuinely nice. She even helped me carry my ironing board to my car after the workshop. Ha!
It was a great weekend and a wonderful first workshop experience. I can't wait for the next one! Now, I gotta get back to my piecing.